When is it enough?

The other day my friend, who is living the life she always dreamed as a published author, who sold in a two book contract, then got another, confessed she still wants more. She feels bad that she’s not enjoying what she’s gotten so far. Now, it’s not that she’s greedy, although that was how she was feeling at the time.

My theory is that she’s worked for this goal for so long, she doesn’t know how not to strive for something. She’s accustomed to having to work for a goal, and now that’s she’s achieved the Big Goal, publication, she’s ready for the next step. She doesn't know how to rest on her laurels, even though she has everything she wanted.

So why can’t we enjoy what we have? Is it external pressure, or pressure we put on ourselves? Is it our personalities? (While “my friend” is a real person, she and I have a LOT of the same character traits.)

Will we ever be satisfied with our level of success?

Should we be?
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Peggy said...

You know I often wonder that myself. I've wanted it for so long, what would I actually do after if I did get published? Dream about becoming the next Nora, of course!

My thinking is that we always need goals or there is no reason to move forward in life. Once you've reached one goal, you replace it with another. It's human nature. We'd still be back in the dark ages, if not. Man must progress or cease to exist. Or at least, that's their thinking. Anyway, tell your friend she isn't being greedy, just human.

Stacy Dawn said...

I think it's just human nature to strive for more instead of being happy with what we have...why? Sorry, don't have the answer

Stephanie said...

I agree...I don't think it's greed..I think it's a normal (and healthy) human compulsion to keep going, do more and/or better the next time, write a book that challenges you as a writer...whatever appeals to you. When I get published (not if!) I know I will not be content to sit back and think, "I've made it!" I'll think, "Okay, what now? How can I do this even better?"


Esri Rose said...

I know my goal in writing is to make good money, but also to have some level of fame. Writing is a tremendous accomplishment, and I think writers are inherently proud people. Sometimes we're secretly proud, sometimes we're right out there, "Look what I did!" proud.

Joe and I talked about the goals of writing, and what would keep me at it versus what would cause me to give up. He asked, "If there were some situation where lots of people read your stuff and enjoyed it, and you were well-known, but you didn't make any money, would you keep at it?"

I didn't even have to think about it. Yup. That would be plenty.

Amie Stuart said...

Nope I don't think we will. I think we're like Junkies looking for our Next High. *sigh*

Unknown said...

This is true. When I was trying to get my CPA's license and realized that I was totally unhappy doing that after I stopped I was lost. Completely lost. Now, I know that's not exactly the same thing but I'd been striving for that goal and once the goal was gone, I had nothing to do. It's kind of the same thing right?

Anonymous said...

You guys, don't whip me or anything...but I will tell the absolute truth...

If I never sold another book, I'd be sorry but not devastated. I've sold one, and I am dedicated to selling more (particulary Damien, my current ms!). But if it never happened again, NO ONE could take away from me the joy of this first book, the first sale, the accomplishment achieved. The funny thing is, now that I've sold and enjoyed it, all I feel at the moment is a sense of "well, back to work". That first sale glow is great, but it doesn't last. The rest of life kicks back in, and off you go. And all you have before you is the project you haven't done yet! I'm hoping to sell this current book...I really love it...but if it didn't fly, nor any of the others, I'd still have that first sale to remember. I will always be able to write "published author" on my resume and have it be true. I treasure that, all on its own. Each sale has its own life to me, and I move forward toward them. Am I making sense? I hope so.


MJFredrick said...

I want to be happy with what I have, just for awhile, you know? Right after I got my degree, I was relatively relaxed - no more juggling school and work. Of course, then I wanted a new car, and a new house....

Okay, so I've never been satisfied. I want to be stress-free. For a week. That's all.

Anonymous said...

For me, when I eventually do break in (positive thinking), I'm hoping that I'll continually strive to be a better writer. Keep honing the craft, if you will.

People who are naturally go-getters will always set new and higher goals. But you still have to stop and be thankful along the way.

Anonymous said...

I always have to have a new goal. It's just who I am. :-)

Anonymous said...

I still have goals...but I have lived long enough to see myself attain the things I dreamed of when I was in high school. I became what I wanted to be. It's been a trip. :) But now, as I near 50, it's time to dream new dreams. I'm looking forward to what the next 50 years will show me, and where I will go within them. I know I'll be writing, all the way through! And hopefully still selling.


I guess the thing I realized and that I make no apology for is that if you asked me to tell you what my priorities are, in order of importance, I'd say:

1.) My spiritual life.
2.) My family.
3.) My friends.
4. My work, both teaching and writing.
5.) And so on...

Yup, that's right. Writing is down there at number four for me, along with my educational career. I love writing. I will always pursue my career in that field, and do all I can to stay published and give the reader the best possible creation I can achieve. But it will never be in my top three.

This may keep me from ever becoming a Nora...but it will make me a very happy JoAnn.

Here's to all of us finding our joy and living our lives to the fullest...every day.


MJFredrick said...

Okay, my goals are different. I'm not a spiritual person, so writing is a lot further up the list. Terrible of me, huh?

Michelle, I never really think of myself as a go-getter except in writing. Interesting. I guess I am!

Julie Cohen said...

As Cece said, I am totally a junkie for more, more, MORE! I'm greedy for more progress, more validation, everything. And my problem is I rarely just sit back and enjoy what I've achieved. I know exactly how your friend feels. Though I'm not particularly proud of it.

Amie Stuart said...

Julie....I'm not either because I think we should enjoy each success to the fullest not go "ok now what?", but you hit the nail on the head. I think it's the validation that comes with achieving each new step.

Anonymous said...

Mar, you are very much a go-getter! Most people stand back in amazement of you in that regard...I know I do!


MJFredrick said...

Julie, I can understand that - I final in one contest, I want to final in more. I'd just hoped that one day what I achieved would be enough. To continue pushing yourself can be exhausting.

JoAnn, you're the second person this weekend who told me I'm a go-getter. I guess I don't usually think of that as a good thing.


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